Creeping Disaster: Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Flowing to US North Coast


Although the US Environmental Protection Agency stopped its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima’s radioactive contamination in May 2011, it does not mean that the problem has ceased to exist, US environmental expert John LaForge notes, warning that radioactive cesium is likely to keep arriving at the North American coast.

Citing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) officials, John LaForge, a co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, calls attention to the fact that just between August 2013 and May 2014 “at least” two trillion Becquerels of radioactivity entered the Pacific Ocean — and “this 9-month period isn’t even the half of it,” the expert stressed.  

Originally many scientists believed that the Fukushima nuclear disaster was a factor in the uptick in mortality, but later research found that not to be the case.“The fact that Fukushima has contaminated the entirety of the Pacific Ocean must be viewed as cataclysmic. The ongoing introduction of Fukushima’s radioactive runoff may be slow-paced, and the inevitable damage to sea life and human health may take decades to register, but the ‘canary in the mineshaft,’ is the Pacific tuna population, which should now also be perpetually monitored for cesium,” LaForge elaborated in his recent article for CounterPunch.

In an apparent attempt to reassure the public, Buesseler said that one could still swim in the ocean’s water every day for an entire year, asserting that it would not pose any threat to one’s health.

While on the one hand, the scientist is right, on the other there is a big difference between external radiation exposure and internal contamination from “ingesting radioactive isotopes, say with seafood,” LaForge pointed out.

The expert explained that internal contamination can be 1,000 times more likely to lead to deadly diseases, particularly cancer, than the same external dose of radiation.

The amount of cesium in seawater off the North American coast is steadily increasing, he emphasized, drawing attention to the fact that both Japanese and American officials are turning a blind eye to the creeping disaster: Japan is not monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to The Ecologist report, while the US Environmental Protection Agency halted contamination monitoring in May 2011.

“Radioactive cesium from the Fukushima disaster is likely to keep arriving at the North American coast,” LaForge noted, citing Dr. Buesseler. At the same time, US authorities remain mute on the potential environmental disaster that potentially lies in store.

Read more:

Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.